Our volunteer for this month joined us two years ago as a Play Ranger at DASH Cornerstone Transitional Living Program. Tara Goldberg has been dedicated to Playtime since September 2016, and not just at program. She’s also been putting in extra hours in the Playtime office helping with some administrative tasks.
“She’s been an incredible help as we head into our busiest season,” said Nicolien Buholzer, Volunteer Program Manager. “We’re so grateful she’s been dedicating so much of her time to helping Playtime.”
Why did you initially get involved with Playtime?
I was looking to volunteer consistently at an organization that made a true impact—Playtime is a community, where we build relationships with kids along with their families.
How has volunteering with Playtime affected you?
I have learned a lot more about homelessness and its causes. The families at DASH and Turning Point are there due to domestic violence, and I have seen how trauma from this has affected some of the kids. They’ve been through a lot, but there is a lot of love and care within the shelter walls.
Can you share a memorable moment as a Play Ranger?
I’ve got a few!
- Pool trips are always fun. It’s great to swim and play with the kids.
- One night this fall, another volunteer and I gathered a few girls, ranging from toddlers to preteens, to paint their nails. There were lots of polish choices, and all the girls picked their own colors—some of the little ones got very creative. We painted our fingernails and toes, and a couple of them painted my hands, too. We dried our hands on the heater. They were really excited about it!
- Last year around the holidays, I brought in dreidls and taught the kids how to play. They enjoyed spinning it around and eating some chocolate gelt. It was fun to share my culture with everyone.
- Another time in the summer, we had people come in and teach us how to double-dutch. Some of the guys were hesitant at first, but eventually everyone tried it out, and it was great to see them surprising themselves and trying something new.
What else do you want people to know about your work with Playtime?
It’s fun! I have a blast volunteering. It’s a great place to play and pretend you’re a kid again. You can escape for a couple of hours and put some of life’s pressures in perspective. And we’re always looking for volunteers! There are trainings once a month, and you can come try it out. If you cannot commit to volunteering on a weekly basis, consider running an activity or sponsoring a holiday or birthday party at a site. We have had STEM nights, a yoga class, Cosplay visitors, along with trips to the pool, circus, baseball games, pumpkin patch, and more!